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Question from Debbie: How do you establish a single login password that works for a Mac with multiple users? We have a Mac with three users, and if you try to update, say, a software program, it asks for the login password but then doesn’t accept it. What’s going on?

Jason says: You need to login as an “Administrator” (Admin) or enter the name and password of an Admin to apply system changes. I am assuming that some of your accounts are “Standard” accounts and that you are logged into one. When you try to update software or do software updates, it wants you to enter the name and password of an Admin account.

An Admin account can create, delete, and modify accounts, install software, and change system settings. A Standard account cannot administer other accounts, but can install software for their own use and change settings related to their accounts. To make sure that what I am saying is correct, take a look at your System Preferences -> Accounts. You can get to System Preferences from the Apple Menu on the top right corner of your desktop. It is the fourth item down.

I have put red arrows next to the account designation in the screenshot below:

Account Preferences
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Here is the list of accounts on your computer.

You can easily change the account type by logging into an Admin account and clicking on a “Standard” account like the one below and clicking the checkbox next to “Allow user to administer this computer”:

Account preferences for standard account.
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Changing the type of account.

You could also just leave the accounts how they are but remember to do software updates when logged into the Admin account. It depends on whether you want certain users to have complete access to the system and certain users to only log in and not have Admin privileges.


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